After the opening two rounds, all four players in the Red Group (even Kiki Bertens who replaced Naomi Osaka) had the opportunity to reach the semi-final at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. In the first match of the day, world no.
1 Ashleigh Barty took down Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes for the third straight victory in seven encounters against the Czech, finishing the group stage at the top and facing Simona Halep or Karolina Pliskova in Saturday's semi-final.
Ashleigh didn't play well against Bertens in the previous match but there was nothing wrong with her game today, taking 80% of the points after landing the first serve in and fending off all four break chances to mount the pressure on petra who couldn't deal with it.
A former champion served at only 50%, hitting 21 winners but also 30 errors, unable to impose her shots or overpower Barty's 23 winners and just 18 mistakes. Petra fended off two break chances in the third game to avoid an early setback before Ashleigh grabbed a break two games later to move 3-2 in front.
It was the Aussie's turn to show some clutch behind the initial shots in games six and eight, repelling two break points and closing the opener with a service winner in game ten after 50 minutes. A volley winner gave Barty another break at the beginning of the second set, cementing the advantage with another one at 2-0 following a loose volley from Kvitova who was now miles behind the positive scoreboard.
Ashleigh served well in games four, six and eight, sealing the deal with a service winner in game eight to book the place in the semi-final and make already an incredible season an even better one.